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Ben Affleck as Batman

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In 2013 Ben Affleck was cast as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the movie “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” As the internet experienced a meltdown and some misguided fans even signed petitions to have Affleck removed from the project, I was always on board with him being cast as the iconic capped crusader. View my old blog post in the link below.

MY Thoughts: Ben Affleck as Batman

I wanted to follow up my recent review of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” with my thoughts on how Ben Affleck actually played this iconic dual role. I will begin by posting this quote:

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times remarked: “All the Internet resistance to Affleck being cast as Batman seems silly when you see him … There’s not a moment when we don’t believe Affleck as Bruce Wayne or as Batman.”

I agree with this completely. It is kind of funny that even though many Batman and superhero fans had a public meltdown over Ben being cast, there is nary a hater to be found these days. Another point I want to make is, although I supported Ben 100% in this role and could see him doing well, even I underestimated exactly how good he ended up being in the role. Ben Affleck disappeared completely into both Characters! While watching the movie I completely forgot I was watching Ben Affleck! He is just that damned good!

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Comparisons are inevitable and I hate to use the word “better” in my comparisons (I can enjoy many things equal without making such judgments) I will add that Ben has come to personify the role for me. I do in fact enjoy all live incarnations of the character. Believe it or not but as of this writing “Batman Forever” is my favorite solo Batman movie, but Ben is my favorite portrayal of the character. I do like Nolan’s Batman Trilogy even though I have issues with it, however, I never really had a problem with Christian Bale’s portrayal of the Dark Knight. After watching Ben play both roles I have come to see his performance as the one I have been waiting for, for decades. Finally Bruce Wayne and his alter ego “The Batman” are portrayed the way they have been portrayed in the comics for a long, long time. I look forward with great anticipation to the Justice League movies and the solo Batman movies where Ben will once again don the cape and cowl to strike fear into the heart of darkness.

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Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice…a review.

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I cannot believe I have not yet reviewed Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The first pairing in live action of the two most iconic Superheroes in the world. There was a ton of expectation riding on this movie. The movie was heavily criticized by the professional pundits and under performed at the box office although it still made the studio money. One of the reasons for this is that the studio did not put out the three hour extended cut of the films into the theater. What was released to the theater was a truncated version of the film that was not very coherent in places. Note to film studio. Leave Zack Snyder alone and let him do his job, he knows what he is doing!

Therefore this review will be of the theatrical cut.

All movies do have their flaws…which is simply another way of saying “I would have done it differently” and although this movie is no exception the Pros greatly out weight any Cons it may have. I really enjoyed this movie so without further delay, the Pros and Cons of this film. Cons won the coin toss so they will go first. 🙂

Cons:

The story, even in the Extended Cut, still has some issues. The scene in the desert where Lois is interviewing a terrorist and then all hell breaks loose, it really isn’t too clear what is happening. One example, Batman brands his criminals and they end up getting killed in jail/prison…but the movie never tells you why they are being killed in jail or the motives for killing them.

Alfred. I think over all Jeremy Irons did a good job but his cynicism got old after a while. Plus, if he thinks Batman was going down the wrong road and becoming something corrupt, then you would think that he would have confronted Bruce long before he did in this movie. It seems Alfred was just as jaded as Batman was in this movie.

Death of Superman. I do understand that his sacrifice was to show the world that he truly is a force for good in the world and that he will use his powers to help and not hurt. However, maybe my objection is more about the elaborate funeral they gave Superman, because it all seems too soon because it really doesn’t feel Superman truly earned the accolades and the grief. In the movie Superman has been around less than two years and there is much controversy surrounding him, he certainly isn’t universally loved.

Death of Clark Kent. This is unprecedented. Sure, they have shown Superman die in the comics and animated movies, but they always have found a way to excuse Clark’s disappearance until Superman returns. This movie paints quite a dilemma where they are acknowledging both Clark and Superman are dead! How can they bring both back without the world knowing Clark Kent is Superman!?

Pros:

Good Story. Despite the story being muddled at times the story is very interesting and engaging. It really is not a story about Batman and Superman fighting, it is a story of redemption for both iconic characters.

Superman’s character arc. I like the idea in this universe where Superman isn’t a Mary Sue Boy-scout where everyone except the villains despise him and don’t trust him. In the real world we would have people truly fear and distrust Superman so I like that realistic approach and  how Superman has to cope with that reality especially in the face of life taking disasters committed to tarnish his name.

Batman’s Character arc. I love how this is an older and cynical and jaded Batman who has gone through many tragedies himself. We see that Robin is dead, Wayne Manor has been burned to the ground and Batman is an outlaw. I loved the scene where we fist see Batman in the room where he just branded the criminal and he is lurking in the shadows. Classic Batman! I also like how Batman comes to once again have faith in humanity restored. The scene where he rescues Martha Kent in the warehouse is the best live action scene of Batman ever put to film.

Special effects. Excellent. I love any time Superman takes flight!! Doomsday is created with such life-likeness! Great eye candy!

Good pacing. Even though the Extended Cut is three hours long the movie flows well without any slow spots at all.

Lex Luthor. I think Jesse Eisenberg was great as Luthor…yes he is Lex Luthor and not the son of Lex as many claim, he was bitter, psychotic and unpredictable.

Wonder Woman. What can I say? She was awesome! Gal Gadot was simply amazing as Wonder Woman and Diana Prince and she stole the show! I also loved the cameo glimpses of Aquaman and The Flash and Cyborg!!

I want to close by speaking of the controversial Martha scene. Sure, it is a bit cheesy but I do understand what they were doing and I think it was a great idea and worked although all it needed maybe was one line of dialogue. That was the moment Batman realized how far he had fallen and that he had become the very thing he had dedicated his life to fighting against. If Batman would have said that to Lois and Superman in some verbal way, I think it would have helped.

I really enjoyed this movie despite some of its flaws. All-in-all a good introduction of Batman in the DCEU and I look forward to more movies with these characters!

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Batman Syndrome?

This is hopefully going to be a lighthearted fun piece. One of the interesting things about following science-fiction and fantasy films is that the fan base for certain franchises can be strongly opinionated and people can tend to get nasty. I have noticed it with Godzilla, Star Trek and Star Wars fans and comic book superhero fans. That leads me to today’s topic. Another point I want to make is that although I grew up in the 60s and 70s reading comic books I do not read them that much any more although I have kept up with what is going on in many of them. One of the trends that is big right now is superheros fighting other superheros as apposed to fighting criminals and villains.

In light of next years movies, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Marvel’s Civil war…superhero battles are all the rage…pun intended. Therefore on many of superhero related groups on Facebook there are these hypothetical battles between these fictional characters and the most prevalent one is between Batman and Superman. Observing the passion on both sides between which superhero would be triumphant there is something I have noticed about Batman fans, which I am one, but these übber fans guys take it up several notches and have what is called Batman Syndrome.

Now I must confess I am biased. I am mostly a Superman fan and Batman comes in second place. Having admitted that, let me define Batman Syndrome. Batman Syndrome is the belief that Batman cannot be defeated and not only that, given enough prep-time Batman can defeat any superhero no matter how powerful they are. Superman has limits but it seems like Batman does not.

Why is this a problem for me? Well, as a Superman fan I do find it a little funny to think that a guy who can fly faster than light, lift a freight-train with one hand and have bullets bounce off his chest as if they were jelly beans can be beaten by someone with zero superpowers. But if you have Batman Syndrome you think beating Superman or any meta-human with powers can easily be done…any time and all of the time. Sure, Batman has his kryptonite which can weaken Superman and for those with Batman Syndrome that is all it takes.

But my problem goes deeper than that. Batman Syndrome fundamentally changes the essence of all the characters. Do you have superpowers? Doesn’t matter in the end because despite them you can be beaten. Then why have superheros with special powers? In the end, under Batman Syndrome, they’re worthless. The other and more important point is that it changes Batman the most. Part of the appeal of Batman is that he is a human being with no superpowers. He lurks in the shadows and the night and strikes terror in the hearts of criminals. Yes, he is a master of martial arts, he is extremely intelligent and has unmatched detective skills along with advanced gadgets and technology at his disposal. But when you turn him into a god-like being you take away his humanity and it is his humanity that made him a great character in my eyes.

The last thing that bothers me about Batman Syndrome is that it turns Batman into someone with questionable ethics. In my day Batman and Superman were friends with trust and a common goals of stopping crime and evil. A cynical Batman who doesn’t trust anyone and has questionable ethics doesn’t sound like a character that would even want to fight crime and evil.

I like Batman to be human and with limitations. I like all my superheros to have some limitations for it makes for great story telling. A human Batman is one to look up to and relate to as he embodies all the best characteristics of being human. Without that he is just another superhero and nothing really distinguishes him from the rest. As a mortal with no powers and with limitations is an exciting character.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, trailer review

This past weekend the full trailer for the movie Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was released. My first reaction was Holy Crap! Holy Crap meaning that was excellent! I am certainly not one that hated Man of Steel so I am greatly looking forward to this next movie. In my participation in various message boards and groups Man of Steel (MOS) does have its fair share of haters. Those haters of course ceremoniously also are sticking their noses up at this movie before they see it.

One of the reasons people tended to hate MOS was due to the rampant destruction. They seem to side with Holly Hunter, playing the part of a Senator that heads a committee holding Superman responsible for the destruction. Another reason the haters hated MOS was its failure to addresses the mass destruction issue. However, it looks like this movie will be addressing that very issue! Plus, we see Bruce Wayne, who was apparently in Metropolis on the day of the fight between Superman & Zod, and this is the impetus for the distrust and rivalry between the two Superheros.

I would like to comment on the main focus of the movie. The fight and rivalry of Batman & Superman. I grew up in an era where Superheroes fought other Super villains and not one another!!! I grew up in the 60s and 70s with the Super Friends cartoons and Batman and Superman were the best of buds and on the same side. From my participation in fan groups and pages dedicated to Superheroes (I even run one myself) having Superheroes battle one another is all the rage. Personally, I find it a bit annoying. Sure, some rivalry and bruised egos and distrust will make for some good story telling, and I don’t mind it going that far, but these out and out hatred and battles between them are not what I really like to see.

Reading the official synopsis of the movie does give me hope that this rivalry will not last long as a bigger threat arises forcing Batman and Superman to join forces against a bigger threat.

Two more points before I end this. I was on board when Ben Affleck was chosen as the new Batman for this film. You would think the internet had broken when so many fans had a meltdown when Ben was chosen. Haters crawled out of the woodwork! Today, I am happy to say that haters have dwindled in number to a very small few. The same can be said of the casting of Gail Gadot and Jessie Eisenberg as Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor respectively, as we view more pictures and trailers more and more prople are coming on board.

The tone of the movie looks good, it will have a lot of action and adventure with good drama and conflicts. I like the fact that Superman is not universally loved in theis Universe. It is like the real world. If someone that powerful did live among us, I am sure there would be those who did not trust him or did not like him.

Who played Batman the Best: Part IV.

With my interaction with fans on the internet I have come to see that Christian Bale’s performance as Batman is by far the favorite. There are many who also prefer Michael Keaton as Batman but Bale does seem the big favorite. I have written in the past about my love-hate relationship with the Dark Knight trilogy but that is another topic. I want to stick to his performance only.

I recently read a negative review of Batman Begins and one of the things the author said was that Batman was not depicted as a detective which is a big part of his persona. I disagree. I think that aspect is in the Nolan trilogy, yet I don’t think it is a big part of what he does in any movie. I think Adam West and the campy TV series has been the best in portraying Batman as a detective! Bale’s Batman is the most intimidating I would have to say. He has come out of the darkness to grab and harass criminals and informants. Some have complained about the voice Bale does as Batman. It is very gravely and gruff. I personally have no problem with the voice he did and there are a few times when that is what made him intimidating. I like the part when he has an informant hanging over the street high up in the air and the informant yes ”I swear to God” and Batman growls “swear to me!” Great scene and this is the Batman many wanted to see. Overall an excellent performance as Batman despite my problems with the movies themselves.

I cannot end this without mentioning Ben Affleck as Batman in the upcoming film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Of course I cannot really comment on his performance since we have not seen the film yet. We have seen the suit and while I like it for the most part, what I don’t like is the size of the Bat-symbol on his chest. I don’t mind the smaller ears on the cowl either. I have written before that I was surprised he was cast only because he wasn’t even on anyone’s radar. After the momentary shock wore off I was 100% behind this casting and I could really see Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne and Batman. I am really looking forward to his performance and the movie.

Well, I think my two favorite Batman portrayals are Michael Keaton and Christian Bale. They are a virtual tie with Val Kilmer coming close behind those two.

Next week I will finally review the new Godzilla movie!!

Where are they Now?

Last August when Ben Affleck was announced to play Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice all of the internet was in a meltdown over fans screaming and crying in outrage over him being cast in the role. Last week, on the heels of Batman’s 75th birthday as a crime fighting superhero character, a picture was released of Ben in his Bat-cowl.

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But with the picture released above  of Batman in his cowl and this picture of him in his suit…

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A vast majority of the haters are GONE! Sure there are a few stragglers but the majority of the people now posting on Facebook or science fiction and superhero websites are in favor of Ben playing Batman. Well, if they are not out right in favor of him playing Batman they are at least now open minded and eager to see how he plays the role.

I was surprised when Ben Affleck was announced as Batman due only to the fact that he was not one of the names at all on the radar of those being considered for the part. It seems that those who were being suggested as being in the running for the role was pure fan speculation to begin with.

Once the shock wore off I did immediately think this was  creative casting and a great idea. I could easily see him as the playboy Bruce Wayne and if Michael Keaton could pull off playing Batman as well as he did, then I have no worries for Ben Affleck. I am sure he will do great. I am also happy that the hatred and animosity the fan base originally showed has died down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comic-Con 2014: Review.

Ah, Comic-Con, that one time of year when nerdlings such as my self, climb wearily out of our Mom’s basement, adjust our eyes to natural light and actually attempt to engage fellow human beings in social contact.* I was not there in Sand Diego, but I do want to post on some of the news that came out from this past weekend’s convention. I certainly will not be able to cover everything that went on, I will focus on those things that interest me and hopefully they will interest you.

Godzilla News:

Prior to the convention Legendary Pictures already green lit two sequels to this summers big hit. What was announced this weekend was that director Gareth Edwards will be back to helm Godzilla II. Currently Edwards is working on one of the stand-alone Star Wars movies that will be out 2016.

The big news that has my fellow Kaiju fans jumping up and down for joy is that classic Toho monsters, Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah will be in the sequels!!!! What is not known is whether or not all three of these monsters will be in Godzilla II or if they will be spread about over other sequels?

My Thoughts: As a Godzilla fan I am very happy with this news. I truly hope they redesign King Ghidorah with arms attached to his wings. Rodan is a favorite Kaiju and I am very happy to see him back. I am very curious to see how these monsters will be designed in CGI. What is unkown is when Godzilla II will hit the theaters. With Edwards busy with Star Wars we may have to wait until 2018 or 2019 to see the next installment.

King Kong news! Legendary pictures is in union with Universal Studios who owns the rights to King Kong. A teaser was shown this weekend of an up coming King Kong prequel titled Skull Island. The release date is November 4, 2016 and it is It is unknown at this time if it will be a prequel to the 1933 film, or the 2005 film.

My thoughts? I love King Kong and I am super excited to see this movie. I just hope the teaser trailer shown at the convention will be shown soon.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. A teaser trailer was revealed at Comic-Con to the delight of many. Here is a description:

The trailer opens with Batman standing on a rooftop in the pouring rain. He’s dressed in an armor-type costume (different from the Zack Snyder released photo). The costume is very reminiscent of the armor costume that Batman wears in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Batman’s eyes are glowing bright whitish-blue (different from how his eyes looked in the Batman cowl photo).

There is something else on the roof. It’s revealed to be the Bat Signal. Batman pulls down a lever to light the Bat Signal, and its bright, shining beacon reveals Superman, hovering in the air. Superman is also in the middle of the pouring rain, and his eyes are glowing red.

The footage cuts back to Batman on the rooftop, staring intently at Superman. Batman’s eyes are still glowing a whitish-blue. The trailer ends with the Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice logo.

A high resolution shot of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was released. I love the look of her costume. A Facebook member noted she and her costume looked like Xena, Warrior Princess and I do agree with that. I happen to like that she reminds me of Xena, Warrior Princess while I think my Facebook friend did not.

My thoughts: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters May 6, 2016 (United States) and this movie I am looking forward to more than any other!!

* I cannot remember where I got that opening line…I think I got it from an episode of Family Guy.